mo, i’m twelve! why do grown ups think it’s easier for children to bear secrets than the truth? don’t they know about the horror stories we imagine to explain the secrets?
from inkheart by cornelia funke
stories are, in one way or another, mirrors. we use them to explain to ourselves how the world works or how it doesn’t work. like mirrors, stories prepare us for the day to come. they distract us from the things in the darkness.
neil gaiman, smoke and mirrors: short fictions and illusions
a book is made from a tree. it is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. one glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.
watching all the adverts for cloud atlas made me really curious about the story. when it came out in 2004 i was confused and thought that it was a book just about clouds and the sound of it didn’t really interest me. in 2013 i realised that this wasn’t the case. so i read it a couple of weeks ago and loved it.
the story consists of six characters that are essentially the same soul in different bodies across the centuries – from the colonial past to a dystopian future. the broad time-frame spanned means that the book encompasses all kind of genres, making each section separate and interesting but still tied in to the novel as a whole through the central theme of human nature and its universality, individualism and freedom. the book is like a set of russian dolls, each one opening to reveal a new story inside, getting smaller and smaller until the central story when they begin to slot back together again.
the story is quite a complex one, but its not a difficult read because it is so intriguing and well written – i haven’t watched the film yet because i heard that it wasn’t very good… but whether you have seen it or not this book is definitely worth reading.
i sold my long, long hair on monday for £50. i didn’t need all that hair but i do need the money. i like my new hair its easy and nice, but i am still a bit sad about being nearly bald – so i reread little women because jo was my original inspiration for the hair selling:
‘i took a last look at my hair while the man got his things, and that was the end of it. i never snivel at trifles like that; i will confess, though, i felt queer when i saw the dear old hair laid out on the table, and felt only the short, rough ends on my head. it almost seemed as if i’d had an arm or a leg off. the woman saw me look at it , and picked off a long lock for me to keep. i’ll give it to you, marmee, just remember past glories by; for a crop is so comfortable i don’t think i shall ever have a mane again.’
i didn’t keep any of my locks because who keeps chunks of hair now? and also i thought they’d lower the price if i asked…
so i finished little women and realised i’d never read any of the following books so ran out on my lunchbreak to find good wives and accidentally bought two other books. which was stupid considering i am trying to clear out my flat to move out, but i can’t say no to books.